Chad Ridner knows the importance of good recordkeeping for small business success. He also knows that a good relationship between a business owner and a bookkeeper or accountant can make the difference between filing paperwork and making wise financial choices for business success.
He started his bookkeeping and accounting service, Two Roads, in 2011 to “Empower business owners with proactive financial information that helps them throughout the year to be even better at what they do,” Ridner says.
Getting advice around tax time is great, but going beyond reactive advising toward proactive planning and advising builds relationships.
That’s where Ridner and a team of four professionals shine, working with various small business clients they proudly refer to as “partners.”
Repetition builds healthy habits
Ridner turned to SCORE for a fresh, holistic perspective of his business.
“We all run our businesses, to an extent, like a horse with blinders — a limited perspective,” Ridner admits. “I knew I needed the input of an objective outsider, someone that cared about me and my business, but wasn’t necessarily on the inside.”
He met with mentor Chuck Christiansen from Greater Knoxville SCORE who was able provide introductions to additional mentors to help with trouble spots. Ridner meets with Christiansen about once each month. “It is the repetitive nature of meeting regularly that really helps. Otherwise, mentors can only get a snapshot of your life and business, and their help can be limited,” Ridner says.
“One of the biggest things Chuck has done was to tell us, ‘No, that is a bad idea,’” Ridner recalls. “We were looking to add some product offerings in the past and were ready to pull the trigger. After meeting with Chuck, he told us that we first needed to be excellent at our core product offerings, and only then, look to add to it. I’m glad we listened to him because it would have really been a detriment to our business if we had moved forward.”
Balancing growth with sustainability
As Two Roads has grown, Ridner has needed to hire additional professionals to keep up with the company’s client base. “Sometimes you’re caught in between ‘the chicken and the egg’ — do I hire before I actually need people, or do I wait and end up playing catch up?” He wonders. “It’s a tricky balance.”
And having the capital to hire doesn’t guarantee a new employee is the perfect fit. Ridner’s been challenged by the task of hiring employees who both have technical experience and the personality to match with Two Roads’ personable, intimate company culture.
“Early on, we hired people with great personalities but less technical expertise, and we got burned,” Ridner says. “We realized that there are certain things that only experience can teach, so we’ve learned to marry great people with great technical ability.”
Two Roads has been recognized as a Top 50 Cloud Accountant of 2015 by Hubdoc, and Ridner accepted the company’s 2015 Firm of the Future Award at Intuit’s annual QuickBooks Connect conference.
Could your business benefit from a checkup? Find a SCORE mentor near you who can help you determine the next steps for your small business.